Monday, October 31, 2011

Meet Su Tong, author of THE BOAT TO REDEMPTION

Su Tong, Man Asian Literary Prize winning author of THE BOAT TO REDEMPTION will be appearing this week in conjunction with The Inaugural Asian Arts & Ideas Forum (November 3-6), bringing together established and emerging writers, thinkers and performing artists from China and India to engage in a vital cultural dialogue. Through one-on-one conversations, panel discussions and music performances, The Chindia Dialogues explore the role that literature and the arts have played — and continue to play — in the shared values and interests that link two of Asia’s most influential nations, but also to America and the rest of the world. Su Tong will be appearing on the following panels:

Saturday, November 5th (3:30-4:30 pm): Literature of Migration: Where Do the Birds Fly?

Which journey is the longest: the one from the village to the city, or the one from one country to another? And how has migration in China and India, from managerial elites to contract workers and refugees, transformed notions of citizenship, identity, displacement and “home”? Writer Amitava Kumar leads readings and a discussion on migrants of all kinds with poet and activist Meena Kandasamy (Ms. Militancy), Suketu Mehta (Maximum City), Su Tong (The Boat to Redemption
), and Murong Xuecun (Leave Me Alone: A Novel of Chengdu).

Sunday, November 6th (1:00-2:15 pm): The 'Chindia' Readings

Authors Su Tong, Ha Jin, Meena Kandasamy, Amitava Kumar, Sharmistha Mohanty, Allan Sealy, Yu Hua, and Xu Xiaobin read from their work. Hosted by Amitava Kumar.

Sunday, November 6th (3:45-4:45): Seeing Double: The Persistence of the Past in Contemporary Chinese and Indian Culture

How has the persistence of the past and the immediacy of China's and India's long histories informed the work of contemporary Indian and Chinese authors? What are the social and political implications of the writer's double vision for his or her role in society? Andrea Lingenfelter, scholar and translator of Chinese poetry and fiction, will lead a discussion with 'Chindia' writers Ha Jin, Su Tong, Xu Xiaobin, Meena Kandasamy and Allan Sealy as they read from their work and discuss how the writer both assimilates the past and moves on.

The Asian Arts & Ideas Forum will be held at the Asia Society and Museum (725 Park Ave, between 70th & 71st) in New York. For individual program prices and more information, visit the Asia Society website. If you can't make it to the forum,
tune in to the free webcast on Online viewers are encouraged to send questions to

Set in Maoist China during the cultural revolution, THE BOAT TO REDEMPTION follows the disgraced but persistently proud Secretary Ku. Following the revelation that he is not the son of a revolutionary martyr, but rather of a river pirate, Ku is humiliated and rejected from the life he has known. With his teenage son, Ku is banished from their home in Milltown and forced to settle among the unwelcoming boat people. One day a feral girl, Huixian, arrives, and the river people, especially Ku's son, take her into their hearts. But wherever the mysterious girl goes, she sows conflict, and soon the boy is in the grip of an obsession.

"By turns wildly funny, starkly sexual and almost existentially tragic, this story of three people who don't know for sure who they are makes for compulsive reading." - Shelf Awareness

"This character-driver work, well translated by Goldblatt, is undeniably a story to ponder." - Library Journal

"The novel is equal parts satire, fable, and coming of age love story, at times starkly real and at others surreal." - The Coffin Factory

Su Tong is one of China’s pioneering novelists. The author of six novels and over one hundred short stories, he shot to international fame in 1993 when Zhang Yimou’s film of Tong’s novella Raise the Red Lantern was nominated for an Oscar. The Boat to Redemption is the winner of the 2009 Man Asian Literary Prize, and was shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker International Prize.

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